New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president.
De Blasio, who has been mayor since 2014, on Thursday announced that he will make a run for the White House, joining an already-crowded Democratic field. The decision brings to an end months of speculation regarding whether de Blasio would throw his hat into the ring.
“As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations. I will not rest until this government serves working people. As mayor of the largest city in America, I’ve done just that,” de Blasio said in a video announcing his campaign launch.
De Blasio’s presidential ambitions have been the subject of some mockery among New Yorkers, three-quarters of whom do not believe he should run in 2020. But to be fair, he is the mayor of the largest city in the United States. By contrast, Pete Buttigieg, whose stature has risen in the polls and has been the subject of fawning media coverage, is the mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana.
De Blasio, 58, is a complex figure in New York City politics: he has a decent progressive record, and he won reelection handily in 2017, but a lot of New Yorkers, to put it plainly, don’t like him.
His mayoral record includes universal pre-K and expanded paid sick leave. This year, he joined progressives in opposing Amazon’s drive to build a second headquarters in Long Island City. On his website, de Blasio claims to have reduced stop-and-frisk by the New York City Police Department by 93 percent and helped drive crime to record lows. He is likely to position himself as an unabashed progressive and experienced executive.
Whether that positioning will be enough to bring him to the top of a crowded field — there are now more than 20 Democrats running for the party’s 2020 nomination, and de Blasio isn’t even the first New York politician running — is not entirely clear. But he believes he’s got a shot that’s worth taking.
“My whole history has been as an insurgent and an underdog,” de Blasio said in a March interview with New York 1.
He also defended his decision to run in an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. “The poll that actually matters is the election,” he said, noting he has twice been elected mayor in New York. He took a swipe at President Donald Trump as well. “Right now, the federal government is not on the side of working people. And that’s because Donald Trump is playing a big con on America,” he said.
De Blasio has a long history in New York City politics — not all of it great
De Blasio has been on the New York City political scene for most of his career. He campaigned for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins in the late 1980s and worked in his administration, served as regional director for the US Housing and Urban Development Department, and managed Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign. He joined the New York City Council in 2002 until he became the city’s public advocate in 2010. He was in that role until he became mayor.
De Blasio told Politico that he believes he embodies economic populism and that his election was “an indicator of the gathering storm that came forth nationally” for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) 2016 campaign. (Sanders, of course, will now be his opponent.) In 2014, for example, he launched an initiative to enroll 4-year-old children in universal pre-K, and the program now has about 70,000 students. He has sought to expand the program to 3-year-olds, but the initiative has faced challenges.
He also highlighted for Politico a number of his achievements as mayor that he believes make him an appealing candidate for a wider swath of voters, including high employment, increased graduation rates, and low crime. But as Politico notes, grading de Blasio’s record is complicated:
But de Blasio’s signature achievements came early in his first term, and City Hall’s activity and ambition have been lackluster in recent years. Crime was already dropping when he took office, and turning around the city’s lowest-performing schools and curbing homelessness have proven major challenges for the mayor. Six years after he campaigned on a promise of combating income inequality, public housing is falling apart blocks away from multimillion-dollar condos. Income inequality in New York City has actually increased.
De Blasio has also seen some controversy in his time as mayor — some a little trivial, some not.
The mayor insists on working out at a YMCA gym in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 11-mile trip, which he undertakes in a private car and accompanied by a police escort from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side, where he resides, has earned him scrutiny and mockery in New York. It seems like he’s trying to show he’s authentic by continuing to work out at a neighborhood gym, but ultimately the decision seems a little contrived — not to mention it’s not particularly environmentally friendly nor considerate of anyone else who might be commuting along the same paths. Despite criticism, De Blasio has kept up his routine. During a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2014, de Blasio dropped the animal. A week later, it died of internal injuries.
Less hilarious is the trail of occasionally ethically dubious choices he’s made regarding campaign finance and questionable characters he’s been tied to. A former fundraiser for de Blasio was convicted for conspiring to bribe NYPD officials. Another campaign donor pleaded guilty to trying to bribe de Blasio to get favorable lease terms for a restaurant he owned in Queens. New York City’s Department of Investigation found de Blasio violated conflict of interest rules in soliciting donations from people seeking favors, according to a recent report from the City.
In 2017, federal and state prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against de Blasio and his aides after probes into his campaign fundraising practices.
The New York Times editorial board ahead of de Blasio’s campaign launch questioned the ethics of de Blasio’s campaign fundraising tactics.
“The field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination is already large. If Mr. de Blasio chooses to run, he will have to find a way to assure voters that he has their interests — not those of his big donors — at heart,” the board wrote.
Despite the criticism, de Blasio is determined to go for it
De Blasio has faced a lot of pushback against launching a presidential bid.
Politico in March quoted a former aide calling the idea of a 2020 de Blasio campaign “fucking insane.” A Quinnipiac University poll found that 76 percent of New York City voters don’t think de Blasio should run. His job approval in the city is 42-44 percent, but it varies significantly among different demographics: 66 percent of black voters approve of the job de Blasio is doing as mayor and 23 percent disapprove, compared to 31 percent of white voters who approve of de Blasio and 58 percent who disapprove. Hispanic voters are evenly divided.
Someone put up a flyer at de Blasio’s gym reading “by entering these premises you agree not to run for President of the United States in 2020 or any future presidential race.” Even de Blasio’s wife, McCray, has suggested that while she believes her husband would be a “great president,” the timing might not be “exactly right” for him to run. President Trump on Thursday reacted to de Blasio’s bid, in a tweet calling him a “joke” and declaring that New York City “hates him.” (New York City voters dislike Trump much more than they do de Blasio.)
The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group. Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2019
De Blasio was also the only Democrat asked about in a March Monmouth University poll that had a negative favorability rating.
He appears to be determined to do it anyway.
“I was the underdog in everything I’ve been near, and I’m not saying that with any hubris,” he told the New York Daily News before announcing his run. “Any time I get in a race, I get in it to win.”
Alexa Chung ELLE Cover Star March 2012
Lil Nas X and Wrangler’s “Old Town Road” clothing line inspires country music fan backlash
“Old Town Road” star Lil Nas X’s latest move is into fashion, courtesy of a collaboration with Wrangler, the legacy denim and apparel brand that’s become a signature element of the Western aesthetic.
The chart-topping rapper has partnered with the company to launch a capsule clothing collection inspired by his hit song and featuring graphic T-shirts, jeans, and other denim apparel. The collaboration is essentially an extension of one of the most memorable lyrics in “Old Town Road,” which shouts out Wrangler by name: “Cowboy hat from Gucci / Wrangler on my booty.”
Wrangler describes the capsule collection, which launched May 20, as “fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy that can’t be put in a box.”
That’s a cheeky reference to “Old Town Road” itself, which sparked an intense debate over whether the song counts as country music when it debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in March, and was subsequently removed. Despite its references to established Western themes and imagery — the song’s lyrics revolve around a lone cowboy riding his horse into the sunset, after all — Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Some country music fans and industry observers agreed, arguing that “Old Town Road” qualifies more as hip-hop than country. Others criticized Billboard for feeding rigid ideas about who or what qualifies as country enough, and suggested that Lil Nas X’s race played a part in the song’s reclassification; the fact that Lil Nas X is a black teenager from Atlanta and country is a predominantly white genre did not go unnoticed.
The song quickly became the catalyst for an industry-wide discussion about the definition of country music and racially tinged gatekeeping within the genre. It also became the top song in the country, and has now been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks straight.
Just like the song itself riled some country music fans amid an outpouring of support for Lil Nas X from his own expansive fanbase, the rapper’s collaboration with Wrangler has met with a polarized response.
The Lil Nas X capsule collection is clearly intended to celebrate and capitalize on the success of “Old Town Road.” Although many Lil Nas X fans have expressed interest in buying the collection, Wrangler is also facing criticism from some consumers, many of whom are threatening to boycott.
Much of the backlash is playing out on social media, where Wrangler has received thousands of comments from customers expressing anger and “disappointment.” (It is unclear if customers have also been contacting the company via other, less public methods; Vox has reached out to Wrangler for comment.) And much of the current conversation revolves around how Wrangler seems to be promoting inclusivity by branching out from its reputation as a brand worn by cowboys and farmers.
Two recent Instagram posts from Wrangler showcasing items from its Lil Nas X collection have received more than 1,000 comments each. While plenty of people have commented on how awesome it looks or asking questions about where to buy, several have declared that the “Old Town Road” items are “ruining the cowboy name that y’all have.”
“Wranglers are to be worn by cowboys and farmers not rappers this is very disappointing,” reads one representative Instagram comment.
Some commenters have more explicitly mentioned race — or called out others’ racism.
“This is the dumbest thing i have seen all day,” one user wrote. “Wtf @wrangler? Why is it about diversity and equality ? There jeans. Quit playin politics.”
WRANGLER JUST PARTNERED WITH LIL NAS X AND THE RACIST ARE MAD GO BUY UP ALL THE WRANGLER LIL NAS X COLLAB JEANS YOU CAN PEOPLE SUPPORT DIVERSITY pic.twitter.com/gwH2G7dULj
— tyler (@tylerujhazy) May 21, 2019
Lil Nas X, for his part, seemed mildly surprised by the response.
i mean honestly white people act like they are the only ones who are cowboys. come to my town in louisiana, we pull up to mcdonalds on horses and have rodeos every weekend.
— Blair Waldorf (@teonnyspears) May 21, 2019
These comments are in the same vein as those used by some country music fans to describe “Old Town Road” when the song made its chart debut, arguing that rappers have no place in the genre (often while neglecting to acknowledge modern country’s own hip-hop influences). Lingering over this debate is race, which many Instagram users have called out in the comments on Wrangler’s posts. Country music is perceived as an insular, predominantly white genre, while Lil Nas X is a black rapper who draws influences from black artists and musical styles.
But Wrangler’s continued support of Lil Nas X is clear; the brand has been actively responding to its detractors on social media, simply repeating on that is devoted to creating high-quality products for all of its customers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the drama over the Lil Nas X collection has only served to draw more attention to it. Some pieces have already sold out, like a pair of shorts that say “Wrangler” on the booty, in keeping with the lyrics of “Old Town Road.” Considering that items in the collection cost between $39 for a graphic T-shirt and $129 for a pair of jeans, the outcry, at least from Wrangler’s perspective, seems to have paid off.
20 Times People Snapped Something Truly Exceptional and Shared the Pics With the World
We are living in the world that is full of surprises where every single day is a new chance to see something so unusual that it makes you doubt your own vision. A treble clef in a bag of fries, a cat whose fur went gray only on his ears, or a person with 6 fingers — these are just a few extraordinary sights that made people reach for their phones and take a pic.
Here at Bright Side we can’t wait to share our list with you of pics showing the standout things people snapped on their ordinary days.
20. Someone found a treble clef in their fries.
19. The pattern on this dog’s chest resembles a cat’s silhouette.
18. Someone saw a landscape on the bottom of their coffee mug.
17. This stone looks like a pile of mini chocolate bars.
16. This cloud looks like a shark.
15. “This stick I found looks like a burning torch, flame included!”
14. “My sweater sort of matches my pillowcase.”
13. “This truck is carrying nothing but a toy dump truck.”
12. “My empanadas have the filling stamped into them.”
11. “I randomly found the tiniest snail I’ve ever seen! (standard bobby pin for scale)”
10. “My cat has double fangs on both sides.”
9. “This tree near my school track has absorbed a fence and shows the pattern on its bark.”
8. “This is an X-ray of my hedgehog.”
7. “My 12-year-old sister made this perfect cake on her first ever try making one.”
6. “I won every single prize on this lottery ticket.”
5. “I made a giant cardboard statue of my face.”
4. “My cousin’s wedding dress from last night has its own pockets.”
3. This is one million dollars in $10 bills.
2. “A customer came in and let me take a picture of her hands that had 6 fingers on each.”
1. “My aunt’s cat’s ears grayed to here a couple years ago and haven’t changed since.”
Have you ever spotted something truly rare? Did you manage to take a picture of the unusual sight?
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